It’s amazing to see mobilization amongst youth and the power of technology to connect and redefine communications structures. The Adbusters website is a great hub for communication and watching developments. I didn’t realize it until recently, but this Canadian publication was actually responsible for starting the movement.
It’s clear the system has systemic problems. In the U.S. politicians have two masters, the public who votes them in to office, and business interests who control the flow of money to get them reelected. It’s clear that the balance has been shifted to where there is little to no public accountability in government. Librals vote libral and conservatives vote conservative so there’s little fear of losing constituents (approval of congress is ridiculously low). Rather than seeing politics as conservative vs libral or prolife vs pro-choice etc., we should hold fast to the real issue. There is a class divide out there with two sides, the wealth/business on one side and the masses on the other.
Both Paula Scher and Pentagram have solid bodies of work and as such deserve a fair amount of respect. A recent visit to a HP microsite, however, revealed a site which attempts to “present advice on brand identity design, video tutorials for small businesses and brand identity templates for small businesses.”
At best, this site gives an introduction to brand identity to the uninitiated. At worst, it gives the public an overly simplified idea of designing brand identity and further cheapens it by giving away free “customized work” from a brand name designer.
While there is no substitute for working with a trained designer, many may not realize this. In any case, the perceived difference has been lessened. In the same way it would be irresponsible for a doctor to encourage self-medication, this too seems wrong. It is a disservice to the graphic design community, and ultimately, their potential clients. At the end of the day, Paula Scher and Pentagram benefit more from exposure (and potential financial compensation) than they loose from the lessened value of their work.